ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Kline's Dept Store

301-303 E Main

207-209 E Main


Kline's Tot & Teen

210 E Main


c.1957, 301-303 E Main, 1950s-70s city assessor image, WHS_006_036b



06 28       A change in the tenancy of one of Main Street’s largest store buildings will take place next Thursday, July 1.  On June 30, Gambles, the present tenant, will vacate the building at 301 Main Street, to make way for the new tenant, Kline Bros, of New York City, who will open a department store at the location.  Gambles have operated a store in Watertown for at least 26 years, the last 10 of which have been in the present location.  The first store was located in the Tri-County Tobacco Company building in West Main Street.  The store also was located in Main Street in the building now occupied in Siegel’s Economy Store, 113 Main Street, for many years.  Kline Bros, operates 22 department stores, mostly in the Middle West.  There also are a number of associate stores.  The Watertown store will be the first Kline store in Wisconsin.



03 21       Plans for the grand opening of the newly remodeled and greatly expanded Kline’s Department Store, which has been operating in Watertown since 1954, were announced.  The dates are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 24, 25 and 26.  For the past several months there has been intense activity at the store, located at Main and South Third Streets.  The remodeling includes a new downstairs section utilizing space which formerly was a stockroom area.  The main floor has been completely revamped.  The second floor, an important area of the business, was left intact.



   Klines’ Tot & Teen, 210 E Main, WHS_005_276



06 21       Kline's, which has operated a store in downtown Watertown for 29 years, will move into the building now occupied by the S. S. Kresge variety store in early fall, manager Ralph J. Adams announced today.  A major renovation project, including a new front and completely redone interior, is planned.  Kline's takes possession of the building at 207 East Main Street July 5 and will continue at its current location until the renovation is complete.   WDT


10 25          Kline's Department Store holds ribbon cutting ceremonies at 8 a.m. Thursday to officially open its new facility at 207-209 East Main Street.  Invited to the festivities are city and business officials, Downtown Development Committee members and special guest Harold Inlow, who managed Kline's in Watertown until 1968 and took over as company president in 1980.  The ribbon, made from $1 bills, will be donated to the United Way.  Ribbon cutting kicks off four days of grand opening sales at both the new store and the old facility at 301 Main Street.  In addition to discounts on a wide range of merchandise, numerous prizes will be awarded.   WDT




Ralph Adams, manager of Kline's Department Store in Watertown since 1968, has retired, and is being succeeded by Norman Weirick, a member of the Kline's management team for the past 18 years.  The firm also announced that on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week a special grand opening sale will be held at the store, heralding completion of the remodeled and expanded store at its new location.  The new store, completely remodeled and redecorated, now encompasses the entire locations of the former J C Penney Store and the S S Kresge StoreKresge's has left the city and Penney's is now located in the ShopKo building complex.



12 08       Changes are in the offing for three Watertown businesses located downtown:  Increased retail sales have led Kline’s Department Store, 207 East Main Street to expand its store space into the lower level of the building, according to Manager Jeff Becker.  The lower level, currently used for storage, has about 3,500 square feet of space, which will be added to the current store area of nearly 15,000 square feet.  Once the remodeling project is completed, Becker said, the store will move its domestics and home furnishing departments from the second floor to the lower level.  Once the upper level is vacated, Kline’s children’s department will be moved into that space, opening up more display area on the main floor.  Becker said men’s clothing and ladies’ sportswear lines will be expanded into the additional space.



1987 photo:  Kline’s opened in Watertown in 1959 and expanded several times before locating at 205-209 E Main St in October of 1983.  Kline’s moved into the former Kresge’s location and its presence was made known by use of adjacent awnings and display windows.



06 15          KLINES CLOSES

                  Klines closed its doors after being in Watertown since 1954




The Calico Cottage on Main Street is decked out for the holidays and has a reason to celebrate.  The store's owners, Bob and Edna DeWitt, are purchasing a portion of the former Kline's building to relocate Calico's inventory.  Their former location, right next door, has been put up for sale.  The expansion from 1,100 square feet to 5,800 square feet allows Calico Cottage ample room to display its array of collectibles and antiques, as well as allowing expansions and additions of its product lines.  The old, creaky hardwood floors   WDT



Cross References: 

Evelyn Kritz pursued career in fashion merchandising with Kline's

1957c, 301-303 E Main, 1950s-70s city assessor form, WHS_006_036a

1960s, 301 E Main

1971, 301 E Main

1993, 205 E Main




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin